Pages

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Arrowing contempt


I love that TV can still teach me things. I learnt (on History or Discovery or one of the more worthy channels) the origin of that universal gesture, giving people "the fingers". In the time of Henry V, hordes of men used to engage in bows-and-arrows warfare. Good archers were the secret to winning battles and each man needed two strong fingers to pull back the string of the bow. The French vowed to hack off the fingers of any archer they captured so they couldn't fight again. When the English won a battle, they would jubilantly jab up their fingers in the air so their French opponents could see they were still intact. It's the defiant "nyah-nyah, can't-beat-me" gesture still so often used today. Ain't history wonderful?

4 comments:

Anaru said...

Just love hearing about the origins of what are such everyday things that are around us, and you tell the story so well, and in such a short space! A big 'thumbs up' gesture to you! Wonder where that one comes from?

Anaru said...

Just found this great site about the origin of the thumbs up,
http://bernd.wechner.info/Hitchhiking/Thumb/

It's Andrew Melville here by the way, Anaru is the name on my blogspot blog.
Andrew.

王周宏儒 said...

you always know the right thing to say!............................................................

LINDSEY DAWSON said...

Thanks Andrew! Yes, the world is full of intriguing gestures and sayings. I read the other day about the cooking expression "done to a turn". Comes from the old days of revolving animals on spits to roast the meat. The newspaper masthead is one of my faves, too, from the time when a vessel's owner was written on a brass plaque screwed on the mast. One could go on!